Thursday, July 31, 2008

And So It Grows

There really is a joy to gardening. It's a such a marvel to me that after so much hard work there is great bounty. When we began preparing the garden in May, I had no idea what a tending a garden would entail. I truly believed that you just put seeds in soil. That may be the case for someone inexperienced like me, but to reap all the fruits there are many steps to be taken.

We raked many times to get each and every clump of dirt smooth. We installed drip lines and measured perfect distances between future plants. There was meticulous placement of each promising seed. We watered often. And then we had...
weeds - hundreds if not thousands of weeds that needed to be pulled on hands and knees.

And finally...

We have zucchini and carrots, potatoes, pole beans, sugar snap peas, corn, pumpkins, onions, spinach, tomatoes, chamomile, basil and magnificent sunflowers. Each day that I go out with my basket in hand I'm amazed at how much has changed. How those little seedlings have turned into something so beautiful and healthy - both for the body and for the mind.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm Not So Sure

Gung ho as I was to jump on the green bandwagon, I'm not so sure that I like cloth diapers. I won't get graphic but I will say that they are much harder to use than I thought. Perhaps it's because my two year old is the size of a high school linebacker. Perhaps it's because he can soil a diaper and not care for hours. Perhaps it's the general busyness of our home. I just don't enjoy it. I don't enjoy having the family hang out the window from the fumes when a culprit diaper is in the van. I am not having a good time with the numerous loads of laundry I do. (Granted they're small loads, they're loads nonetheless.) And perhaps the number one reason- the cloth tends to chafe.

There have been days when I'm out, really out- like at Ikea and I find it would be so much easier to just throw a stinky cloth away. I mean, am I really going to tell three little kids to just hang close while I swish away?

I know I sound very western and lazy but the ease of disposables is tempting me back. I'm waffling here. On the fence. Feeling more blue than green...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Surely It Wasn't Me

It was chilly here this weekend. With dark clouds looming over. We went for a walk last night after dinner anyway. (My legs really needed it).

So we're traipsing along and my little guy says to me...

"Mommy, do you want to play I Spy With My Little Eye you little stinker"?

You little I know I've never called him that!

Run. Drive. Sleep? Repeat.

Oh my gosh, I did it. We did it. My fabulously funny and fast footed team and I did it. We finished the Ragnar Relay this weekend. It was 24 hours of the most excitement I've had in a long time. And by far, one of the most fun things I've EVER done. All of my worries from the previous post were not warranted because we all had stomach issues from not sleeping and eating on the run (literally). We all stunk. We all laughed ourselves silly like a second grade slumber party. We all got to know eachother extremely well and came away with a pocket book full of inside jokes and memories.

To be honest, it was brutally exhausting to run in the evening, the middle of the night and again in the morning with no rest. The hills were tough, really tough. We all felt like you-know-what in a bucket. (Oh and all those honeybuckets- if I never see one again it will be just fine with me!) But I would do it again in a heartbeat. Sore feet and all.

Here's my fellow Mitochondriacs. There were six in each van. This is just before we left to head up north before the race. (I'm holding the sign). And we did pretty well- 15th overall out of 149 teams! Go Mitos!! Important to note that we ran for Paul- a member of our team who was seriously injured while riding his bike to work. We missed you, Paul!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Run Forrest, Run!

I'm losing sleep. I'm excited and nervous and all wound up like top with a broken spring. The day has finally come.

Tomorrow I will set off with my pack for what will be my biggest adventure yet. I barely know the eleven other people that I'll spend the next 24 hours with. I say barely because I don't even know all of their names. What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if I get tired and cranky and need my space? What if I get carsick squished in a van with sweaty, stinky racing cronies? What have I done?!

Am I afraid that I'm the second youngest person on the team yet the slowest? A resounding YES! Please wish me luck and if you see me give me a shout out- just don't honk or I might run off the road!

On Autopilot

And if you'll turn your attention to the left side of the bus....

Yep, been the official tour guide lately. Three times here this week and it still doesn't get old. (Just don't ask the kids).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thoughts Interrupted

I feel lately like a mouse on a wheel. You know the ones that go around and around? I'm having fun, honestly, I am. I'm quite enjoying the ride but I'm looking out through my glass cage and seeing my pen and paper across the room. It makes me want to jump off this spinning thing and go sit and write. And write. And write. But I can't stop the spin. It's too fast.

I have thoughts swimming on several topics. One magazine article I'd like to put together. Ideas in response to some fellow blog writers. Two children's book ideas both colliding in my mind. The empty box for love notes I'd like to compose to my sweetie. And of course there are the homeschool plans.

I just haven't had time. Even a blog here and there is tough these days. I remember the winter with long, rainy days and not much happening and they seem so long ago. Not that I want to wish away this picture perfect summer - I just want to hop off the wheel for a minute and compose. I suppose I'm afraid that the thoughts will turn to dust and disappear if I don't pen them soon.

So if you happen to peer into my glass house, fill my water bowl and wave hello. It will be good to see you. And if you don't mind- stick your finger in and see if you can get this motion to slow down.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

The list is long and the pictures are light (meaning I forgot my camera for all the good stuff). We had my brother with nephews and niece until Saturday afternoon and what fun we had exploring the great outdoors. The park, the creek, the garden, a bonfire, the boys took in a Mariner's game, the girls went raspberry picking, and good old fashioned play time.

Here's a photo of my brother with his eldest, Sam, who is very dear to us.
The remainder of Saturday was spent on washing all linens and towels, scrubbing bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming, putting away too many toys, etc. and getting ready for the new crew arriving this morning. And when all was done we were exhausted. It felt good to settle into the couch with a bowl of popcorn and this cute little movie I picked up at the library. It fit nicely with all our bear activity this week.

And lastly, Sunday led to one of my favorite days this summer. In our usual running late to Mass fashion (mind you we drive a half hour to get there), I panicked. "We're going to be late, at least 10 minutes late" I said. Then added, "I HATE being late!" I probably should also add that I was so grumpy and frazzled that I made one child cry in the back and the other two looked very wide-eyed. What do I hate more than being late for Mass? Leading my children to think I have multiple personalities. Ugh, the regret. So back to the happy, pretty part-I had my husband do a quick check of Mass times for that Cathedral I loved so much. And what do you know- we had just enough time to make it there and not be late for Mass at our usual church. So into the city rolled and I just adored it. After donuts and coffee in the sunshine we headed down to the beach for low tide. We found many a treasure before we headed over to the sandy beach to play. I loved watching my kids run about in the waves with ships off in the distance behind them. I loved watching them drip ice cream down their legs while walking back to the car. I loved the mandetory sand wipe prior to entering the newly cleaned car. And I guess I just plain loved being with my family on such a beautiful day.

Preferably with the camera next time!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bears On Berries or How to Terrify a Nine Year Old

Oh these summer days have been busy. And wonderful. And full of excitement.

We have lots of friends and family coming through the revolving door. It's chaotic and fun at the same time. Our friends that just came and went this week from Las Vegas were in for a real treat (us too, of course).

Ding dong- I get the door. It's a neighbor I hadn't met before.

Neighbor: Um, I just thought I'd let you know that there is a bear in the tree at the end of your driveway...being that you have little kids.

Me: startled look

Neighbor: By the way, my name is...


Well "a bear" turned out to be mama bear and two cubs who had found some real treasures of a berry kind up in the trees. And if you know anything about mamas and cubs- you don't want to be near them. So we stayed back a ways and kept the children away from the area. Until the next night when up the hill everyone went for a hike and snap went a branch. When my honey looked over he saw the same crew, same tree. They high-tailed it out of there and made it home.

And my poor bear-scared daughter may never leave the house again. Instead she will remain at home base drawing "No Bears" pictures and wishing it was time to hibernate.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Gave My Love a Cherry

When my daughter and I set out the other night for a quick trip to the town market we met our neighbor coming to us with a special delivery. His children live in eastern Washington and have cherry farms. If you could have seen this humongous bag of freshly picked, already washed, absolutely amazing Rainier cherries...

Windows down, music on, driving along the river- we glanced at eachother in the mirror laughing and spitting our pits out the window. She's changing right in front of my eyes these days. And so I suck up every second of these moments trying to remember it all.

Weekend Wrap Up

Up in these parts we just finished a cloud-free, glorious summertime weekend. Highlights include:

A beach trip on Friday- which believe it or not left us all with teeth chattering. This particular beach is super woodsy and offered little sun from our perch. Nevertheless,the kids still swam, picnics were eaten and we all came home with that oh so familiar summer day exhaustion. Not too tired for an evening traipse through the property and a bowl of vanilla ice cream with a ginger snap cookie crumbled over top. Yum!

I love how the light is shining down on my little guy. If you could only hear him singing as he went along.

Saturday's disappointment turned into a great success. Originally we were to make way up to Whidbey Island for an overnight visit with friends. Strangely enough, there is an outbreak of Whooping Cough there. If you haven't been vaccinated they are strongly urging not to come. Well we all have had our shots but my little nephew will arrive in a few days who has not to be a carrier for anything harmful to him. order to stop all the moodiness and sorrow, we hopped in the car and drove about an hour into Tacoma to go to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Spending the entire day there left us almost too tired to eat dinner and definitely too spent to clean up the mess that was our house. (Does summer leave you neglecting the inside of your home, too?)

Whatever that is on my lens...ugh! But what a great view.

Mt. Rainier sits in the distance.

A zoo within a zoo. Mama bird kept bringing treats to those little tiny beaks sticking up. Can you just hear my heartstrings snapping back into place? Twang!

Two down, one with her nose in a book. Much quieter than the way there!
The kids spent the entire afternoon on Sunday slipping and sliding and making sno cones from this old thing. Do you remember it like I do?? They loved it so much that dear, old mom might develop carpal tunnel syndrome. It's a serious workout! Have I mentioned before how much I adore summer?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Art In Two Corners

This is what it looks like when the big kids go out to play soccer with daddy and my little guy and I listen to good music and make fine art.

What you see is my spot, nice and tidy. Painting canvas with a little wine- all is good.
Then you see his spot. Messy, very messy. Does he care for a paint brush? No! He likes his fingers just fine. What you see is paint accordingly wiped on the chair and table. What you don't see is paint wiped all over the back of the chair in pretty rainbow colors. Also missing from the picture is him. He needed the firing squad as you can imagine.
Here is the final result of my quick and easy canvas to hang over my sewing area. Unfortunately the little guy's artwork was too saturated in paint to make it to the wall.

The Novice Homeschoolers Argument

It hasn't happened much- although we've only been homeschooling for one year. The other night I started a creative writing class for children. Happily enjoying the energy buzzing in the room (and being out on my own for the first time in a long time) I was sidestruck when the gentleman on my left dropped a bomb.

Him: "If you don't mind my asking, why do you homeschool? Religious reasons?"

The teacher was beginning to talk-how could I delve into all of the reasons...

Me in a whisper: "Oh, do you have experience homeschooling, too?"

Him: "No, but I have very strong theologies on why it's not good socially for children."

Wait- he said no, didn't he? No experience yet strong beliefs. Hmmmm.

My response was a weak one.

Me: "I'd be happy to discuss this more with you when we get time".

Did I mean that? I don't know.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Signum Fidei Panis Vital

What a treat yesterday to attend the 50th Anniversary celebration for Archbishop Brunett. My neighbor invited me to tag along with him for the festivities so I quick found a sitter, jumping at the chance to get dressed up and have a day in the city.

Afternoon Mass took place at St. James Cathedral which was just brimming with beauty. The procession alone took nearly twenty minutes. The music, the candles, the banners, it was all so regal.

My photos are few and rather dark. I didn't want to be obnoxious so I quick shot a few not even thinking about the lighting. Trust me, it was better in person.

The beginning of the procession. Hundreds of priests, bishops and lay people filled in all the empty seats followed by Archbishp Brunett in the end.

Speaking of music, the hair on my arms stood at attention every time the choir behind me broke into song. It was the most wonderful accompaniment I have ever heard in a church. "Is it always like this in Mass?" I asked my companion. "No, not quite" he answered with a smile.

I just loved seeing all the young men stand who are currently in the seminary. (I believe the number is around 30!) And then the many, many priests who stood that had been ordained by the Archbishop- truly amazing. With a special message from Pope Benedict at the closing, I felt as if I were in the Papal audience myself. It was that special.

An invitation only reception and dinner followed just up the street at the Convention Center. Being in the presence of so many holy priests and nuns was just a kick for me-something I'm not used to. The tables were elegantly set with gold and maroon with a mint medallion at each chair for keepsake.

I felt so blessed and honored to be involved in such a celebration.
I won't forget it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Princess, a Dragon and a Bum

My class begins tonight and I already have an assignment. Students need to come to class ready to give a brief synopsis of an "over the top" children's book. It could be an exaggerated plot, character, even illustration.

That was easy.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Famous Photo

You know the one- the baby in-utero holding the finger of the surgeon? Well it's been circulating my email box for some time. I've received it many times and do you know what? I actually stopped paying attention to it. Not because I'm cold-hearted or desensitized but because I actually thought it was a doctored picture.

Well, I was wrong. See for yourself.

Weekend Wrap Up

What a different kind of 4th we had- we weren't sweating like mad and surviving only in the pool. It was actually chilly and overcast. But still it was a good day. My favorite part, you ask? Going to Lowe's and getting new pots and flowers- I just love planting. Let's see what else did we do...

We sewed some new straps on an old handmade dress.

We made yummy treats inspired by Martha (I think that was the inspiration- not sure!)

We lit sparklers. One of us for the first time...

"Excuse me, could you please stop lighting the bush on fire my little pyro??"

And we snuggled up and watched the fireworks on TV- so much less crowded that way and parking is no problem.

The remainder of the weekend was pretty much the same- low key. Sometimes you just need one of those. A long run, confession to get squeaky clean followed by Mass, cleaning and more cleaning, organizing and just being together.

Funny that we have to barbecue like this up in the Pacific Northwest.

We're becoming old pros with the rain- now we enjoy it. (Some more than others-did I happen to mention already all the cleaning?!)

What a beautiful way to wrap it all up- farewell to another speedy weekend.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Love and Fireworks

Happy Anniversary mom and dad...
How many years has it been, ten? Twenty?? Couldn't be much more than that- I'm way too young! Enjoy the fireworks- outside, too.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Beating

That's what we got last night- a beating, a ferocious beating. Up in these parts of the country we don't often get a thunderstorm. Last night it rolled in waves the entire night.

It began as I went out for a run about 6pm. Halfway through my route the thunder set in and pace quickened. I met another runner along the road who said, "Just stay under the big trees- it'll hit them first". Great, I thought. Faster yet.

Cancelled was the family night walk. With it being darker than usual we all got into bed at a reasonable hour. Not that getting into bed means sleeping. Far from it. The power went out about 10:50 and stayed out. The cracking and exploding of the sky, the shaking of the house, the cowering of the dog went on until 7am. Non-stop. I know this because I laid awake taking it all in. How could one sleep through this?? I wondered. Well it wasn't one that slept- it was four. They all slept through it. Didn't hear a peep. How does that work?!

So on this dark and gloomy, wet morning the dog and I will be found in our jammies perhaps sleeping here and there- unless of course there is more to come.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Get Those Pictures Off Your Computer

and submit them to win! I'm talking about First Communion Photo contest that is. The one that has been floating around the blog world for a few days. In case you haven't seen it...

The Catholic Company, the market leader for online Catholic books and gifts, has just announced a First Communion Photo Contest. What a great excuse to pull those photos out of the photo book and show them off again. Bloggers, podcasters, and webmasters can also win a $100 gift certificate for referring the winning entry to the contest, so be sure to spread the word. Winners will be featured on View From a Pew, The Catholic Company blog.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Raging River

Subtitled, Mom and Dad Stop Reading Now

It happened already. What we were warned about. A young man lost his life last night in the cold and raging river.

Just as my friend and I stepped out take our little ones for a walk we heard the sirens. And the many helicopters. And the water.

As we neared the river all I could think was, "Dear God, please help them. Please don't let it be a child." And then, "Hail Mary...".

To digress, it's been an abnormally hot weekend. Most people up here don't have air conditioning so the river has been full of rafts floating for days. Four young men set out early yesterday evening on two rafts. Just at the bend of the river near our house they capsized. Three were able to get to safety and one never resurfaced.

As we approached the scene we saw what we thought to be a rescue raft. A man frantically paddling with his arms on his belly and looking. Looking. Searching. We later learned that it wasn't a professional- it was the lost man's friend. That scene is burned in my mind and I can't help but get sick to my stomach thinking about how he felt.

As the hours went on the search died down. The water right now is not suitable for rafting. It's pure snow melt and freezing. It's fast and high and not clear yet. All signs to keep out.

So please say a prayer for a 32 year old man who lost his life to the river. And be safe.

Weekend Wrap Up

Oh it's been a busy one...We had two sets of visitors come and just pass eachother within a few hours. Our first round came Thursday from Las Vegas and very much appreciated the cooler weather and greenery. We spent Friday strawberry picking at a nearby farm. And who could believe that my camera came but with empty batteries? What a bummer! My son saved the day with his VTech digital cam.

The night finished with a bonfire and marshmallows with a little chase game in the sunset.

Miriam and I spent the afternoon trying, yes I said trying, to make strawberry/rhubarb jam. We both agreed that the recipe we were following was written by a very old, blind woman (no offense to those grannies!!). It made no sense whatsoever and we laughed ourselves to tears. Our jam is runny and tasty but not quite right.

Saturday was spent in Seattle- market, aquarium, taking in the sights.

My favorite part of the day was stopping in St. James Cathedral. I decided that once a month we'll trek on in for Mass- it's just that special.

And a little boat fire across from our parking lot to make things super interesting when you're trying to get out of the city and get to the airport. Then quick to get home, wash sheets and towels and get set for more trips down memory lane.

Sunday came fast and what a treat for me to go out to lunch with two of my bestest, old friends that I lived with for years in college! And to finally welcome into the circle of mommyhood- Karen, who after many years had a beautiful child. We are so thankful!

So I'm off to go enjoy a few last precious moments with my dear friend and to nibble her little one's neck.

A Project Complete

Do you ever take months and months to complete a project? Me too. I bought this Amy Butler Nappy Bag pattern in November with the intention of a quick sew and baby shower gift. Well just a short seven months later, I began actually working on the bag (and diligently so).

The bag is so cute with a cell phone pocket and ample pocket space inside for bottles and diapers. It's so cute, in fact, it could be used for a beach bag, going to the market, the list goes on...
My friend from college arrived to our house on Sunday with her first sweet, little baby and I was finally able to give it to her.

Do you think she likes it?

The recipient of the bag- JP and I- he may not be going back to Chicago, but please don't tell his mother that!